Pope joins fest un­der shadow of church at­tack

The Myanmar Times - - World -

POPE Fran­cis ar­rived in Poland yes­ter­day for an in­ter­na­tional Catholic youth fes­ti­val with a mis­sion to en­cour­age open­ness to mi­grants made tougher by a ji­hadist mur­der of a priest in France.

The Ar­gen­tine pon­tiff is meet­ing young­sters from the world over at a week-long faith ex­trav­a­ganza dubbed “the Catholic Wood­stock”, but is ex­pected to tackle the right-wing gov­ern­ment over refugee rights be­fore he gets down to prayer.

The killing of an el­derly priest dur­ing mass in France on July 26, in an at­tack claimed by the Is­lamic State group, cast a shadow over fes­tiv­i­ties among the hun­dreds of thou­sands of pil­grims gath­ered here.

It has also made Pope Fran­cis’ task of cham­pi­oning mi­grants that bit harder, play­ing into the line held by Pol­ish Prime Min­is­ter Beata Szydlo and her right-wing gov­ern­ment, who have re­fused to take in refugees for se­cu­rity rea­sons.

The pope, 79, will meet Pol­ish Pres­i­dent An­drzej Duda in Wawel Cas­tle here.

The pope, who voiced his “pain and hor­ror” at the “bar­baric killing” of the priest, is likely to slam re­li­gious vi­o­lence and the per­se­cu­tion of Chris­tians while warn­ing Europe not to fall prey to xeno­pho­bia.

Poland is de­ploy­ing over 40,000 se­cu­rity per­son­nel for the visit. –

Photo: AFP

Pil­grims from all over the world dance and sing on the Blo­nia Mead­ows in Krakow on July 26 to cel­e­brate the open­ing mass on the first day of an in­ter­na­tional Catholic youth fes­ti­val.

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